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Tigers dig deep to win at Newcastle

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Leicester Tigers dug deep to make it two wins from two on the road in this season's Aviva Premiership with a 14-13 victory over Newcastle Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

Tigers came back from 10-0 down to lead 14-10 in the final quarter thanks to Mike Fitzgerald’s first-half try and three penalties for Freddie Burns.
Leicester went down to 14 men with 10 minutes left when Peter Betham was sent to the bin for killing Vereniki Goneva’s break under his posts. Joel Hodgson landed the penalty to set up a nerve-wracking finish at Kingston Park.

But Tigers saw off a 5m scrum in the final play before their determined defence forced replacement fly-half Hodgson to miscue his drop goal attempt with the last kick of the game.
Tigers gave a first start to hooker George McGuigan against his former side. He joined England international props Ellis Genge and Dan Cole in the front row. Mike Williams started his first game of the season after recovering from an arm injury.
In the backs, Ben Youngs, Telusa Veainu and Owen Williams returned to the starting team. Youngs and Williams made their first starts of the season and Veainu returned after missing the Round 2 game with Wasps. Mathew Tait captained Tigers against his former team.
Goneva lined up against his former club for the first time since his summer move to Kingston Park. And there was a former Tiger in the second row in the shape of Calum Green with Michael Young on the bench.
The game kicked off in bright sunshine and calm conditions. Tigers’ intent to run the ball in the opening stages was underlined by Youngs’s quick penalty deep in his own territory that took Tigers up to halfway. Burns’s run off the back of a lineout then took Tigers into the Falcons 22 for the first time but the fly-half spilled the ball in the tackle.
However, it was the Falcons who were first to strike. Scrum-half Sonatane Takulua’s pass out of a tackle picked out Juan Pablo Socino’s supporting line to score under the posts. Mike Delany converted for an early 7-0 lead to the hosts.
Tait then produced an excellent tackle to stop Goneva in full flow down the right.
Another smart break by Youngs, down the blindside at a maul, took Tigers 30m, but the attack ended as he lost control in the tackle.
Tigers then produced a brilliant defensive set to hold out the Newcastle pack, initially from a lineout drive and then through phase after phase on their line. They eventually forced the knock-on for a scrum under the posts.
Delany missed a long-range penalty to extend the Falcons lead but when Burns was caught in possession in his own 22 his opposite number made no mistake to extend the Newcastle lead to 10-0.
A succession of maul penalties allowed Tigers to build pressure for the first time and set up field position 5m from the Falcons line. And when the drive was pulled down again, Tigers made the penalty advantage count, Youngs sending Fitzgerald in at the right corner. Unconverted, the try left Tigers 10-5 behind midway through the first half.
Tigers had their tail up and a brilliant break by JP Pietersen turned defence into attack. The move lost momentum on the Falcons 22 but good work by Veainu won a penalty that Burns kicked to the corner. And from the lineout, Tigers were awarded a penalty in front of the posts that Burns kicked to leave them two points behind.
Tigers survived a scare when Falcons overturned possession in the Tigers 22. Tait was alert to the threat as Dominic Waldouck latched onto a kick through, bringing the centre to the ground. Waldouck reached for the line but his score was ruled out for a double movement.
Falcons missed another chance to extend their lead when Delany struck a post with a penalty, as half-time approached.
There was a real intent to Tigers at the restart with Pietersen bundling Goneva into touch 15m out. It gave Tigers a great attacking position and they won a penalty for holding on under the posts. Youngs went quickly and Mike Williams was held up over the line.
From the scrum, Tigers created an overlap at the first breakdown but Youngs rushed his pass and Fitzgerald knocked-on.
O’Connor’s handling error presented Simon Hammersley with possession on the Newcastle left and It needed good work by Burns and Veainu to halt his run. The ball was moved to the opposite flank where Delany’s kick beat Sinoti Sinoti into touch.
Determined defence from the two Williams earned Tigers a penalty 40m out on the angle. This time Burns opted for goal and landed his kick to put Tigers in front for the first time with 30 minutes remaining.
Tom Youngs replaced McGuigan before the restart.
It was a real arm-wrestle throughout the second quarter, with both teams solid in defence and competing at every breakdown.
Tigers missed a brilliant opportunity to score their second try. Pietersen made the break from his own 22 and had Veainu on his shoulder to take them up to the Falcons 22. Tom Youngs injected further energy into the attack but Genge threw a wild offload a couple of metres short of the line and Falcons mopped up the loose ball.
Burns was then wide with a penalty as Tigers led 11-10 with 15 minutes left. But he was on target moments later with a more central kick to move Tigers into a four-point lead.
Will Evans replaced Hamilton and Jack Roberts came on for Owen Williams.
Young, the replacement Falcons scrum-half, made a superb break, latching on to his own kick through to open the Tigers defence. Goneva was in support but was brilliantly stopped by Betham underneath the posts. Falcons kept the ball alive and sent Daniel Temm in at the corner but his foot went in touch.
Play came back for an infringement by Betham, the centre slowed the ball at the previous ruck and Hodgson’s penalty cut Tigers’ lead to 14-13 with nine minutes left.
It set up a tense finish, with Tigers defending for their lives. And they managed to keep the Falcons, for the large part, penned in their own half. And when Falcons did make a half break with 90 seconds left, Hammersley knocked on Will Witty’s pass on the Tigers 22.
It left Tigers with a scrum put-in with 60 seconds on the clock. But Falcons turned over possession at the scrum and it took a brilliant tackle by Tait to stop Waldouck's run for the line.
There was time for one last scrum, on Newcastle's put-in, 5m from the Leicester line. Falcons were forced to play the ball and they found no way through as Tigers defended with their lives.
Instead, Hodgson called for the drop goal but screwed his effort off target with the final kick.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

NEW 10-8 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

NEW 13-14 LEI




JP Doyle

Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle Falcons

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Match Stats

Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
62/74 84%
127/137 93%
Scrums Won
7/7 0%
4/5 20%
Lineouts Won
15/15 100%
16/16 100%

Player Stats

Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
15Mathew Tait
14Telusa Veainu
13Peter Betham
12Owen Williams
11JP Pietersen
10Freddie Burns3P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2George McGuigan
3Dan Cole
4Michael Fitzgerald1T
5Graham Kitchener
6Mike Williams
7Brendon O'Connor
16Tom Youngs
17Logovi'i Mulipola
18Greg Bateman
19Ed Slater
20Will Evans
22Jack Roberts
23Adam Thompstone

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Simon Hammersley
Vereniki Goneva
Juan Pablo Socino
Mike Delany
Sonatane Takulua
Rob Vickers
Scott Lawson
Calum Green
Evan Olmstead
Mark Wilson
Will Welch
Ally Hogg


Ben Sowrey
Paddy Ryan
Will Witty
Dan Temm
Michael Young
Joel Hodgson
Belisario Agulla
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI22140856744512258486466
Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle FalconsNEW2210012430581-15151735449
Form Guide
Last Match
Beat Gloucester Rugby 17-12
Past Meeting
Won 45-26
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Beat Gloucester Rugby 26-5
Past Meeting
Lost 26-45

Matchday Live

Newcastle Falcons13
Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers14
Leicester Tigers
Full Time